If by “meditate” we mean something like: sit very still, quiet the mind until it empties and some sort of nirvana/enlightenment comes and we arise as a buddha, then no, probably not.
But that’s an unfortunate—to the point of comical—reduction of meditation and it is a great shame that so many Christians accept it. Ditching meditation is likely among the throwing the baby out with the bathwater errors our reformation brothers and sisters made. We love them, but they didn’t get everything correct, and nor will we for that matter:)
I believe that if God can speak to us through burning bushes, talking donkeys, and that even the rocks and hills can declare His glory to us, then He can reach us however He deems fit. And many have found meditation to be one of those ways. Novice as I am, I count myself among them.
If meditation is a new practice for you, or something you have avoided for various reasons, “Be encouraged that mediation has long been part of the Christian, and before that Jewish, tradition” (Some famous and reputable person once wrote). As we learn about it, or develop our thoughts about it, we remember that Paul said that sometimes all we can have is milk, before meat, the point, of course, is that faith is not static, nor the practices of faith. We develop over time along the journey of faith, and maybe now is the time for you to encounter meditation.
On this website, over time, there will be various practical tools for mediation and brief articles about it and the history of it within Christianity. I am no world-expert, and frankly I intend to use this site as a way to clarify some of my thoughts, reflect on experiences, and share along the journey. I do hope you will join me in this.
If you are skittish about all this take heart: One element of faith (and of meditation) is that there are no winners and losers, none of us “win” at either. The “win” is in being in the faith or in the sitting or lying down and being intentional to find time for practice.
The Cambridge dictionary of Christianity says, Meditation: reflecting, pondering, or exercising the mind through sustained consideration of a religious text, doctrine, or mystery, for the sake of devotion to God and spiritual growth…approached with the right hear and propose then we can meditate away!
Robert Morgan encourages us, “the words meditate and meditation occur 21 times in the Bible; the words think, thinking, and thoughts, 252 times. Mind is mentioned 163 times, and the word ponder is found 9 times. God’s approach to mindfulness is to have a mind full of His Word.”
One of my favourite passages is at the beginning of the book of Psalms,
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.
Tim Keller say, “The one who meditated is like a tree. Trees don’t grow overnight. Meditation is a sustained process like a tree growing its roots down toward the water source. The effects are cumulative”
May the process begin today.
Set a timer (on your phone, oven, microwave, whatever you got), for just 5 minutes.
Place your body in a comfortable position, sitting, lying down, hands out, hands on belly, again whatever suits, there are no meditation police coming to make sure you are “doing it right.”
Take a moment to get settled.
Take three slow breaths
Reflect on the tree planted by the stream.
When your mind wanders, gently come back to the image of the tree.
It’s 5 minutes.
Let me know how it goes.
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